Senate-House Letter: EPA’s Costly Power Plant Rule Needs Full Review

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), chairman of the Senate Clean Air and Nuclear Safety Subcommittee, joined Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Chairman Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.), House Energy and Power Subcommittee Chairman Ed Whitfield (R-Ky.) and other members of the Senate and House to raise concerns regarding the extraordinary legal and economic aspects of the EPA’s proposed 111(d) rule for fossil fuel-fired power plants. 

In a letter to Howard Shelanski, Administrator at the Office of Management and Budget’s Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA), the committee leaders write, “As proposed, the rule is not tailored to minimize the burdens on state and local governmental entities, or to avoid unreasonable regulatory costs. States and affected entities would be required to make decisions to shut down existing facilities, begin developing new infrastructure, and make potentially expensive and irreversible decisions even if the rule is ultimately struck down or modified.”

Given the unprecedented costs and regulatory burdens associated with compliance, the members continued, “We write to request that you ensure full interagency review of the proposed rule by all appropriate agencies, including review of the proposal’s consistency with applicable law, impact on electricity rates and reliability, and other implementation issues raised by commenters. We also request that OIRA return the proposed rule to EPA if it would compel compliance, including the submittal of state plans, before legal challenges could be resolved by the courts.” 

The Senate and House leaders concluded, “Regardless of the administration’s current climate policies, federal agencies such as the EPA have an obligation to comply with applicable law and to adhere to core regulatory principles that result in the least burdensome regulatory outcomes and avoid unreasonable costs.” 

In May, Senator Capito introduced the ARENA Act, a bipartisan bill that addresses the 111(d) rule for new and existing power plants. The ARENA Act prevents mandates for unproven technology, extends the rule’s compliance dates pending final judicial review and protects ratepayers from higher electricity rates and reliability risks. 

To view the letter, click here.